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Hurricane Hermine hits Florida

Residents stock up on necessities

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – As Hurricane Hermine inches closer to the Florida Panhandle, residents across the Gulf Coast are prepping for the big storm.

Customers made a mad dash to the Piggly Wiggly in Port St. Joe Thursday afternoon before the store shut down early at 3 pm.

“Everything is shutting down. There is nothing open in town,” Kathy Baxley, who lives near Port St. Joe, said.

Baxley, along with other residents, stocked up on bottled water, batteries, candles, flashlights and canned goods. She said she learned her lesson a few years ago when a bad storm hit and she lost power.

As of Thursday night, Hermine was approaching land, traveling with wind speeds up to 80 mph. The Category 1 hurricane will be Florida’s first hurricane to make landfall in more than 10 years.

Hermine is expected to make landfall Thursday night into early Friday morning. As of 11 p.m. Thursday it was not raining in Panama City, but farther southeast, along the coast, several cities were getting hit hard by the rain.

"We've done everything we can to prepare. It's too hard to pack up and leave. This is home," Cindy Whiteman, who lives along the coast, said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott called the hurricane a life-threatening situation. He said 6,000 National Guard troops are ready to mobilize to hard hit areas once the storm passes.